GP appointments scandal: FIVE million patients 'give up' on seeing a doctor after being turned away from local surgery

Millions are left at risk of serious diseases at NHS GP numbers dwindle.
Millions are left at risk of serious diseases at NHS GP numbers dwindle.

Five million people a month are unable to book a GP appointment when they want one as the number doubles in a year, a study has suggested

Published

Five million people a month are unable to book a GP appointment when they want one as the number doubles in a year, a study has suggested.

Millions are being left at risk of serious diseases not being diagnosed in good enough time as they wait over a month to be seen.

The number of people unable to see a GP has grown from 2.7million in October 2021 to 5.2million this October, NHS figures by the Labour Party have stated.

Patients have commonly been told that practices were not allowing them to book too far in advance. Many have also been informed that no appointments were available when they wanted them.

The NHS have been ordered to publish league tables showing the number of appointments and long waits at individual surgeries by ministers as they look to improve performance.

Ex-Health Secretary Sajid Javid admitted last year that the Government is set to miss its commitment to recruit 6,000 more GPs, as separate figures from the NHS reveal there are 4,600 fewer GPs today than in 2013.

Labour’s health spokesman Wes Streeting MP said: “Patients are finding it impossible to get a GP appointment when they need one.

Analysis shows the number of GPs has dropped significantly since 2013.
Analysis shows the number of GPs has dropped significantly since 2013.

“I’m really worried that among those millions of patients unable to get an appointment, there could be serious conditions going undiagnosed until it’s too late.”

The 2022 GP Patient Survey states around one in seven patients did not get a consultation when they last attempted to book one.

10.3 per cent of those were helped in another way, with 13.8 per cent left without the care they needed.

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of GPs, commented on the analysis, saying: “GPs and their teams are working flat out to deliver the care and services our patients need.

“GPs want our patients to receive timely and appropriate care, and we share their frustrations when this isn't happening.

“But difficulties accessing our services isn't the fault of GP teams, it's a consequence of an under-resourced, underfunded, and understaffed service working under unsustainable pressures.

“While GP workload has increased by 18 per cent since 2019, numbers of fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs has fallen by 719.”